Thursday, 23 April 2009

Sedation dentistry can calm dentist anxiety

If the thought of sitting in a dentist's chair evokes strong feelings of anxiety and actual fear, you are not alone. The truth is most people don't actually enjoy visiting the dentist, but regular dental cleanings and occasional dental work is vital to good oral health. People who avoid going to the dentist because of apprehension are doing themselves a great disservice and could be contributing to much more severe dental issues in the future.

Sedation dentistry is a technique employed by many dentists today to help calm the nerves of patients who:

- Have a general phobia of dentists

- Are afraid needles and shots

- Find it difficult to get numb from Novocain

- Will undergo multiple dental procedures during one visit

- Will undergo complex dental procedures

- Experience a gag reflex easily

- Have special needs or physical disabilities

- Find it difficult to remain calm and still during procedures

- Have highly sensitive teeth

- Have had unpleasant experiences with dentists in the past

- Dislike the sounds and smells of a dentist's office

How does sedation dentistry work?

In sedation dentistry, an experienced dentist will use one of several different sedation drugs to alter the patient's central nervous system and leave the patient feeling relaxed. The drug may just leave the patient feeling tranquil or it may actually cause the patient to fall asleep. Regardless of how the drug affects the patient, he/she will most likely not remember the majority of the procedure (including the sounds and smells)"¦an attractive side-effect for most patients. The patient will not be unconscious.

Sedation drugs used in a dentist setting are generally safe. A dentist will discuss the different options available and determine if you are a candidate for this technique. Some common, highly effective choices include:

- Valium (Diazepam)

- Ativan (Lorazepam)

- Triazolam

- Vistaril (Hydroxyzine)

- Sonata (Zaleoplon)

In some cases the patient will take the sedation drug in a pill form (no needles) one hour prior to the appointment time. Because the effects of the drug may last up to six hours, the patient will need to be driven to the appointment as well as driven home by a family member or friend after the procedure is completed.

If you have avoided going to the dentist due to fear or anxiety, sedation dentistry may be the perfect solution to get you back on the road to good dental health. Whether you simply need a cleaning or a cavity filled or you need a more complex procedure such as a root canal or dental implants, sedation dentistry can give you the confidence to take the trip to the dentist's chair.

About The Author:
Dr. Gary E. Alhadef, D.D.S. is a sleep dentist who uses sedation dentistry in his Dallas, Texas practice. Dr. Alhadef has 20 years of general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry experience. Please visit Dr. Alhadef's website to learn more about his practice.
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